Very few times I have received words of criticism well. Actually, I have never received them well. The one word I’ve lately been making a fuss about is the word aimless. We sat down recently as a family to discuss our goals for this new year. We have never done that together, I don’t think; if we have, I don’t remember. That’s not new. Also, I do not like setting goals.
After setting the goals a week ago, I think I know exactly why I have been sad/angry/depressed. Here it is: I am not a hard worker. I am a lazy individual. Of course I do stuff, it is not like I never lift a finger; I do work , but really, I think I like settling for the bare minimum.
You see… [let the reader understand]
I already have a very well-organized, corporate-oriented individual in my life. I don’t need to become one like him.
Obviously, nobody is telling me I need to become like my husband, but my heart freezes at the idea of actually writing stuff down, and working hard on making things happen. I like it messy in my life LOL! I actually kinda know what I am doing. Truly, though, I drift, and I drift often – like everyday. So when I heard the word aimless, I think I got really sad because I know it is true. Godly spouses tell you the truth.
I think it is here when well-intended individuals will say, “How dare he!? There, there, don’t beat yourself up; give yourself some grace. You have your plate full.”
Well, yeah, I get the sentiment. I am homeschooling my children. I also had a baby three months ago, and he’s not sleeping that much anymore during the day. I need to clean the house, cook meals, exercise, spend time with God, learn to play Pokemon, yada, yada. Anyway, first, only God can give me grace, and I need a lot of it; second, I am the one in the wrong here. It is true that I am aimless. I have been, in many areas of my life. By aimless I don’t mean that I haven’t accomplished anything in my life. I rock at teaching grammar, I am sustaining a life with my breast milk, and meals are put on the table; but it is also true that I need to manage my time better. I could be doing more things for God’s kingdom if only I would put the phone down.
I don’t start projects I know I am going to quit or that are going to be difficult to accomplish. I quit Organic Chemistry 101 for that reason in college. I think I have also realized that work is never done, and I want to have it all done. I was very overwhelmed last week over very silly stuff. So when I hear the word “goals” I think my mind goes to many places. And there’s no way to put it all into writing in this post, but I think the skinny would be that I tend to assume someone with very clear goals for their life is a very proud individual, and I don’t want to be proud. Therefore, I go to the other extreme, and I do nothing.
I am wrong because setting goals has nothing to do with humility or pride. Having goals is not necessarily sinful, although your motives can be.
You see, dear ones, the opposite of pride is not putting yourself down, but to think of yourself with sober judgment. When Paul is saying that he is not inferior to the super apostles in the church in Corinth, does that sound like pride? Paul actually tells the church in Corinth that they should have commended him, but he knows he is nothing. Paul considers himself the least of the apostles, yet, he is what he is; yet not him, but the grace of God working in him. Do you hear that? That is sober, mature, self-assessment. Paul knows what God made him for, what God assigned to him; he can recognize what God has done through him, and yet in every one of those ways, Paul saw himself as nothing. It was all grace. Grace. Grace. You can recognize what God has given to you, assigned to you, and accomplished through you, and yet you can do it in a way that it never glorifies a clay jar.Pastor Richard Caldwell
Founders Baptist Church
Sober Judgement, Romans 12:3
Dec. 20, 2020
And that’s where the struggle was. I think I held to the wrong idea that writing things down and accomplishing them, or even trying to accomplish them, was a prideful endeavor. But like, great men of the faith have accomplished great things through the history of the church, right? I don’t think they winged it. They had to be hard workers, right? And men of the Word, and men of prayer… they had to have a plan.
Long story short, I began focusing on myself. When I do that, it only gets worse. My pity parties and spiritual tantrums always lead me to ugly places. My sinful heart leads me to want to be enough, but I am not enough, so I try harder. Then I get sad because I know that I am not enough, and I will never be.
What?! I mean, just writing it down, I’m like, “LOOK TO CHRIST, YOU SILLY WOMAN!!”
I listened to this video the other day, and it made me cry. It’s really good regarding goals for 2021. It was probably nor super profound, but God accomplished with it what He wanted to accomplish, mainly, to show me that I was not looking up to Him. Instead I was looking at myself as my own savior, and I am a terrible god.
I think you can’t pin your sanctification to the calendar. What is a good Christian practice is to reevaluate things that we have been doing because sometimes we drift, and we think that the next year somehow is going to fix itself. Or you think that you will stop worrying when life is not so worrisome. So the woman you want to be in fifteen years is really the woman that you should be trying to be now, which is basically, ‘Today if you hear His Word, do not harden your heart.’
Your obedience is important today. Your obedience yesterday, you either did or you didn’t; and your obedience tomorrow, well, it really takes no courage or faith to obey in your imaginary future. All you have in your hand are things that God put in them today. How can you be faithful today with what God has given you? And based on 2020, there is no reason to believe that 2021 is going to be a smooth sailing… you have to look to Christ, because things are just not going to happen…What Have You
It made me realize I have to set goals because the things I want to accomplish for God’s glory are not gonna happen just with wishful thinking, like, “Yeah, I need to write more blog posts.”
It’s so easy to drift into thinking, “What am I doing with all my time? Am I really working toward something? What are these great things that I am set to do for the glory of God? Does it even matter? Where is the ‘Wow, Mommy, you do really make the best pancakes!’ Where’s the glory in changing a diaper for the fifth time today, or wiping the urine off the toilets seats and floors?
I get it. I get why women need an attaboy. We are needy. Boy, was I so needy last week! I needed some validation. That was so sinful because in real, practical life, Christ was not enough for me. That’s also why I worked outside the house when I had the chance. And while I am not saying all women sin when they do this, I am saying I was sinning because I wanted to be praised, and nobody praised me at home. It felt good to receive a paycheck, no matter how small it was. I have realized since Daniel was born that I am weak; my body feels weak, my mind is weak, my heart is weak. My heart is so prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love, and yet, He is so merciful that He keeps on calling me back. YHWH is such a good, merciful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
I have been reading a book that is pointing me to Christ, and that basically called out all my sin in the last weeks. It’s You Who, by Rachel Jankovic. I also read an article by Founders Ministries leading me in the same passage that my pastor preached this last Sunday. Overall, the message was the same:
Look Up To Christ. Do not look at yourself. Look up to Him, and let His Word dwell richly in you.
So yes, Paul worked really hard, and yet it was God working in him. There’s nothing sinful about setting goals. I want to honor God, and to glorify Him in my daily life. Even the commentary on Revelation I am reading with the children talked about it today. It is like I obviously needed to hear this. God is so gracious. I do want to live for Him, and use every gift He has given me. I want to confess my sins and flee to Christ for forgiveness. I want to praise God, worship Him, delight in in Him – the triune God. I want to trust Him, and surrender all things into His hands. I want to walk humbly, thankfully, and cheerfully before Him as I become increasingly conformed to the image of his Son. In short, I want to glorify Him by trusting in Him and doing His will with a ready mind and heart (Revelation, Joel Beeke, pg. 394).
Below is a summary of the things I read this week that God used to call me to repentance. It is nice that Libby typed it for me. I will also link the article from Founders, and a song I heard at my church. I have to work diligently at believing that God is pleased with me, and that I don’t have to earn His love. I have noticed I go into “works” mode when I am not consistently reading my Bible.
Also, Daniel is three months old. Time goes by so quickly. The year 2020 was definitely crazy, and while I am not saying Jesus is coming back tomorrow, I do want to be ready, faithfully doing what He has called me to do.
We just need to look around and see that this world needs Christ. I am thankful He calls me His own, and that He is mine.
You Who – some things…
If you are a Christian woman who has been in Christian circles at all, you have no doubt been told that you are a princess.We have misused this truth to the point that is seems common to attribute to God all of the characteristics of the world’s most indulgent father of a spoiled child at a mini-mall. We think a princess means having your nails done, tiaras, plastic high heels, and getting everything you ever wanted because your father doesn’t know how to say no to you. He is a king, after all!
In reality, your Father is not a petty, child-indulging king— not at all what the princess encouragement makes him out to be. But more than that, it is a position of responsibility. You are a daughter of the King. That means you should be about His business. In a way that becomes the office you hold. While it is a great honor, being a daughter of the King is more like wearing a shirt that says STAFF boldly across the back.
What is the nation of this kingdom, and how is it built? Look at the example of your Father. He sent His Son to lay down His life for His people. You belong, body and soul, to the kind of King who is building His kingdom on the mercy of self-sacrifice. ‘For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect though sufferings’ (Heb. 2:10).
Here we have our first among many brethren, and what is the prefect example that He gives us? Laying down His life. Being perfected in suffering. Bringing us to glory. We are called to live in imitation of our high priest and the selfless work that He accomplished for us. So, yes, I believe that you are royalty. You are a daughter of the Most High King, and you are a princess. But what does that mean practically?
When this phrase is trotted out, it almost always comes off as addressed to someone looking hopelessly out of a window, wondering who they are while curled up in an afghan watching the rain drops on the window. It is a message for our feelings, intended to bolster us up in our needy moments. But, as we have established, we haven’t been called to “feel awesome about ourselves”; we have been called to faithfulness.
The reality of following Christ is not that kind of cheap affirmation. It is not an emotional Snuggie for our cold hearts. It is a different thing altogether. It is a cross being carried. It is a child of God looking at a trial and saying, ‘This is mine to handle. Let me mop the same floor I mopped yesterday and every day before that, or freely give away my time in a million ways with no expectation of getting it back. Let me change your diapers and hold your hand.‘ This is work for a daughter of the King.
A life of Christian royalty is not an easy one. It is full of trials and obstacles and suffering and troubles. Not only do we endure trials and suffering. We are called to turn those very things into blessings for others. A person telling you how their cancer pointed them to Christ, how their darkest moments showed the kindness of the Father. This is the duty of sons and daughters of the King. To lay down their lives for those around them. To point to Christ continually by imitating Him. To seek to live for His purposes and to trust Him that all things work together for good. Our identity in Christ is more about our responsibilities than our privileges, though there will be many of those. We do not fear because we know a time of perfect rest, a time of glory, a time of perfect happiness will come-but that time is not yet and our work is not done. Work hard in the hope of that glory, and “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”
(2 Timothy 2:3)
We would rather continue our quest for our identity, looking for clues all around us, for those little indicators of who we might be and what we might be here for; rather than placing all our hope in the ultimate identity that we have. Christ crucified is more than everything we ask for. He is beyond enough. He is the actual power of God and wisdom of God. He is all in all. And yet we so often say, ‘That isn’t quite what I am looking for. Give me something a little… less.‘
You may be thinking that you have never said that. Because, laid out there bare like that, very few Christians dare to say that Jesus is “not enough” for them. So let’s look at some of the very mundane, more familiar ways that we do this. What are some of the most common wants we have as we struggle though our lives? We might say we are just really, really needing a break. We need a chance to recuperate and relax. A little rest? We are stressed and want some time off. What is Jesus in this situation? He, the incarnate Son of God, is our everlasting rest. An everlasting rest and peace has already been given to us in Christ, and we are still looking for short-term, unsatisfying rest. Why? Because we are asking for less. We are turning aside from this monumental gift to say that it isn’t quite the thing we meant. Worse, we might be thinking of Jesus as another item on our to-do list.
What if we are looking for a little appreciation and recognition? We might be trying to find ways in which our work matters. We might be resenting the backstage role we have at the office, the less-than-famous artist the we have become. We might be at home with our children, wishing any grownups cared about what we are sacrificing. Or we might be unmarried and wishing we had anyone at all who wanted to know what we were doing all day. We look for something little to cheer us up. Maybe, if someone brought us a coffee and said they knew how hard we were working and that it mattered, we would feel better. We think we would be satisfied if there was just a sign that anyone cared, or if anyone was thoughtful enough to notice that we are tired because we have been working so hard. We want someone to tell us how this is such important and hard work we are doing. Maybe we would feel better if anyone knew and appreciated what a long day we had. We are looking to be known and to be loved.
But is this a need that Jesus does not fill? We want a little indicator that our lives matter to someone.
Is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God not enough for us?
Does that not show us that we are valued and loved in an authoritative way?
Has He not told us that He knows every hair on our heads? He knows us and understands us to such an extent that absolutely nothing in our lives is outside His knowledge. Once again, this is more than what we were looking for. We are urged to cast all our cares on Him, for He cares for us. And yet we look around and wonder why there is no one willing to help us bear our burdens. We wanted a thoughtfully timed coffee, not cleansing blood and the everlasting arms. We wanted someone to say, ‘I care about you’ on a post-it note, not someone to give their life for us.
Do you see how we are in possession of more than what we are looking for? We are wasting our time looking around for support and encouragement when we have Christ. We want to drink hesitantly from a sippy cup of comfort while god offers us the opportunity to stand under a Niagara Falls of glory.
We have eternal forgiveness, and we seek cheap validation.
We have an omnipotent, omnipresent, and eternal God, and we just wish someone knew what we were going through. We want to matter, but we are part of the very body of Christ.
When we begin to worship our ideas of support and love and encouragement and start orienting ourselves around those, we become shallow and short-term people. But when we look to Christ, our shallow problems are completely overshadowed by the size of our answers. Christ is all in all.
Founders Ministries – Fear and the Christian
Song – Came ye all unfaithful.